Because we are back to a countdown to another potential federal government shutdown, we can’t get to the real problems in federal government agencies and the federal workforce. We all know that these real problems need to be addressed. They can’t be while our congressional leadership sits in continual crisis mode.
Decisions need to be made as to what federal agencies should and should not do. Budget cutting is not decision making. That’s easy. Just cutting budgets leaves the agency heads with the ultimate responsibility of “guessing” what Congress whats them to do with their reduced funding. Guessing is not a good way to lead any entity.
Congress needs to stop and take a close look at what each federal agency does and should or should not do then determine the funds and number of employees needed to do this work. Taking a close look at what each federal agency does and determining what needs to be changed, dropped, kept is hard.
I know as so do you that there are real problems in the federal government. They include multiple years of budget cuts resulting in lack of resources to perform agency missions more than just adequately and some with major failures, inability to invest in adequate technology updates and improvements for basic security due to lack of funding to do so, and a declining knowledge base in federal agencies due to retirements.
I think we have all heard enough about cutting federal budgets and reducing the federal workforce from Congressional leadership and presidential candidates. I have anyway. The songs sound the same but with no real substance behind them. Substance as in real decision making. Not just sound bites.
So I address the critical issue of a declining knowledge base in federal agencies here.
“…more than three in ten federal workers will become eligible for retirement by 2017, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).20 That works out to be 640,000 potential departures, most of them baby boomers who will likely leave once they are eligible to do so. Indeed, baby boomers, having held off from retiring years ago during the recession, have benefited from the improving economy and are now more than ready to depart. This exodus will put agencies under intense pressure to replace lost talent in the coming years.
Also, during the recession, job candidates were desperate to get jobs – anywhere. That made it easier for hiring managers to select the best employees. Now, the tables have turned. Hiring managers have become desperate to select good candidates, who, in turn, can select the best workplace opportunities. For December 2014, the unemployment rate was 5.6 percent, down sharply from 7.9 percent at the beginning of 2013.21 22
The workforce is aging and the federal government is the choice of last resort for many recent graduates. Pay has been practically frozen for years, but many Americans still think federal pay is too high. No wonder the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey has shown that morale has been dropping in most agencies for the last few years.23 24 25
We may not be in a full-blown crisis today, but if we fail to restore honor to the U.S. Civil Service, the federal government will be unable to recruit and retain the quality of talent it needs to protect our national safety and health, security, borders, and economic well-being. That would be a crisis, and it should be unacceptable to all Americans.”
from Chapter 1 “What Happened to Federal Employees Lately? A Lot,” We are Not the Enemy: Restoring Honor to U.S. Civil Service, 2014 Review and Update.